Monday, October 6, 2014

5-0

It was my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary this weekend. My brother, sister and I hemmed and hawed about what to do to celebrate a milestone that is a GREAT feat in this day and age. My mom simplified it by saying that she wanted family photos done by a professional (not me). So I gave my friend Amy at Amy Dykens Photography a call and she agreed to take on the challenge. We met yesterday afternoon and I saw a few of the pics she took which are, of course, awesome. Because she was taking care of the "official" pictures, I could take some of the "unofficial" pictures. The unofficial pictures are what you can see now.




I love that my parents created our great family. We have all had our share of ups and downs, but they have been the rock through it all. I also love that we can have fun together, be silly, but protect each other's backs at the same time. Heads up Grandkids, you can plan the 75th festivities!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Match Vs Kindergarten

Dating websites have it all wrong.

Kindergartners might be on to something.

At least 2 Kindergartners had the dating thing down today: the second day of Kindergarten of the school year.

I did not notice any love blooming yesterday. I was purely concentrating on which name belonged to which kid and counting to make sure they were all where they were suppose to be. This morning was a refresher on names because the darn kids wore different outfits to school today.

Because I am a Special Education Assistant, I spend a lot of time in the regular classroom modifying things for my student(s). I do a lot of observing. In music class today, I thought I saw one of the boys lean over and kiss the cheek of the girl sitting next to him. It happened so fast, I second guessed myself and decided that maybe it did not happen.

It was fine for me to be blissfully in denial, until all the kids were sitting on the rug at the end of the day. They were taking turns packing up their backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. When (let's say) Julia left to go pack up her bag, her suitor (we'll call him Conner) was talking to a boy next to him. Conner looked over to where Julia was sitting and said, "Hey where did my girlfriend go?". That's when I knew, I had seen a kiss in music. Now, I specifically watched harder. (Can one watch harder? Perhaps I paid more attention, but basically my eyes were pinned on them.)

She came back from packing up and sat down right next to him. Then she moved a little bit to the side and patted the place beside her for him to move over!! I couldn't believe it: SHE WAS FLIRTING WITH HIM. He did and then the teacher told them to separate. they did, then inched back toward each other. Then they tried to hold hands. Separated again.

It was time to line up, some kids in the bus line, some in the parent pick up line. As fate would have it, Julia was taking the bus and Conner was being picked up. I watched Connor as he lined up behind Julia INSISTING that he was a bus kid today. I had to admire his spunk. He was doing all he could to hang with Julia for as long as he could.

So, there you have it people in the dating world. All it takes is a simple surprise kiss in music class and bells will be ringing all day long.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Homework Blues


Labor Day 20-14,
No need for the sun-screen,
The children are locked in their rooms,
Summer Homework equal their dooms.

I try, I really do
To tell them it's easier to
Complete it in July,
And they ask me "Why" "really, why"?

And in my wise old brain, I think,
Am I crazy? Just have a drink.
Wouldn't it be smart to finish early?
Their gaze it seems so surly.

So, they worked and played,
They partied and sat in the shade.
They went to the beach,
They ignored my speech.

I read one of their books,
It was death, sadness and crooks.
Trying to read another,
I'm trying to help, I am their mother.

No matter, I am no spark notes,
I dream of oceans, sand and floats.
I cannot recite the setting or plot of the book,
Maybe they should actually take a look.

Stupid teachers*, I curse,
Why this summer homework? I converse.
Can't our kids just work and have fun,
This summer homework will never be done!!

They need "summer reads", I declare,
This means light, fun, without a care.
No taking notes, no writing essays,
No reciting poems, no shoebox displays.

Summer AND reading should be fun,
The stress level should be none!
My poor babies, will they ever learn?
For them to love books, I truly yearn.

But once again, the days before school,
Are spent cramming, it seems awfully cruel.
One day they will learn to just get it done,
Then our Labor Day will be nothing but fun.


*Just as a disclaimer, I am a teacher. I LOVE teachers. I just don't like my kids' summer homework....




Thursday, August 21, 2014

If You Build It, They Will Come

6 years ago, I was on the school committee. The major claim to fame (and I use the word fame loosely because there were a lot of hurdles to overcome) was that we decided to regionalize.

It was huge.

It was an undertaking.

It lost me some friends.

It gained me some new friends.

We focused on taking the best of 2 school districts and combining them into one absolutely fabulous district.

We agreed to build a new High School.

I got to walk into that High School today. I listened to speeches from a bunch of important people from our Commonwealth. I heard these speeches in the brand new auditorium. The same auditorium where I will watch my daughter in plays and hear her sing. It was very moving. I am so very proud of the efforts I and so many other people put in to see this building come to fruition.

Here are some of the outside views (and yes, the sky cooperated with brilliant clouds).


Can you guess what our mascot is? So cool that someone thought to incorporate it into the bleachers!!


The school is bright, shiny, well thought out and the attention to detail is amazing.


Congratulations Harwich and Chatham on making the best possible school and school district for our children! I may have to figure out how to become a High School teacher instead of an Elementary School teacher :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PMC or My Brother Rocks

My brother is my hero because he overcame cancer (11 years ago!) and helps others with cancer by riding his bike every year. This year he rode in his 8th Pan Mass Challenge which is a 2 day bike ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown (192 miles). The PMC raises money for cancer research. Before he rode the PMC, he rode the Lance Armstrong ride in Austin, Texas. That was 100 miles in one day. The second year, my mom, dad, sister and I all went to cheer him on. It was a most amazing trip. Here we are at a rest stop with him. (Sally's umbrella was to protect her from that hot Texas sun).


Tommy rides for a team called Team Lick Cancer. Here is a smattering of their t-shirt designs worn by his biggest fans.

Here we are the other day cheering him on at the Nickerson State Park rest stop. Doesn't it kill you that he doesn't even look winded and this was 1/2 way through day 2?!

One of the benefits I get from him riding his bike on this great team is that he rides with a bunch of people who we both went to high school with! Celebrating at the finish in Provincetown on Sunday, I got to have a mini reunion with 3 handsome classmates. Rich, this is a shout out to you because you actually asked if I was going to write about you and this! I love when people tell me they read what I write.  :)

One of these years I hope to ride the PMC with him, but right now I am happy being his biggest cheerleader!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Photos R'Us

I grew up knowing that if I saw a camera, I was suppose to smile. We have lots and lots of pictures of my sister, brother and I smiling in pictures. My dad was the videographer, my mom had the camera. I got my first "real" camera when I graduated from college. Now I am the camera holder in the family. I am always the one that has it at all family functions. 

The iphone has worked wonders for not having to bring the "big" camera along all the time. It's convenient for quick photos. Last weekend, B had a swim meet in Springfield and my mom needed to get off the island for a bit so the 3 of us embarked on an adventure. We stopped and saw my brother, his wife and my niece and nephew. All 4 adorable, but that's not where the real story is. They live near our favorite ice-cream place. My mom, B and I went to get ice-cream for our ride to western Mass. My mom, who once was on the forefront of camera knowledge, is more on the back burner of mobile phone use. She does not have a smart phone, she actually has a flip phone. She says to me that she will take a picture of B and I and our big, delicious ice-creams on my iphone. 

First she took this: 

Then, she proceeded to take 2 videos that I unfortunately deleted.

Then, she somehow got my phone on rapid fire and took the following.






I think I need to get her an iphone just to have more pictures like these. We were in hysterics. And laughter is like an ab workout in itself. Awesome ice-cream + ab workout = Win/win!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Teenagers

Teenagers.

Such a loaded word. So much angst. So much drama.

As a parent, I believe that many like me, look back into their own teenage years and try to parent from that. Unfortunately, so much has changed. Or is that fortunately?

As a teen, I had to call people on our house phone. I wrote my friends letters, and mailed them with stamps. Yes, stamps. I even had contests writing letters with friends. One time I wrote a letter on toilet paper, one time I wrote a letter on a t-shirt, you get the point: I was creative.

I went to Maine every summer and left my school friends for my summer friends. I had no idea how they spent every waking minute in the summer. In the winter, I went to NH and skied.

Every weekend.

How did I find out what was going on over the weekend? On Monday morning back at school, after the weekend happened. So I did not get the every minute play by play, but the general weekend overview.

I am a fan of social media (obviously, I have a blog for Pete's sake). I like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I really appreciate the ease of texting. My computer and I are buddies. My phone and I are rarely apart.

The hindrance is teenagers have all this social media to contend with ALL. THE. TIME. As in 24/7. They know what everyone is doing all the time.

They know that Chrissy had fruit salad for breakfast. Tim had batting practice at 9:00AM, Tina had her  eyebrows waxed by her next door neighbor at 10:15, Wendy "turnt it up", Alicia and Marsha had a sleep over, Caty and Veronica were getting together to go to Chillers, Mark is working until 5 and Spencer has a hot date with Mae at 7.

This actually drives other teens (who are not doing anything at the moment, but reading twitter) CRAZY!! It makes them feel like they have no friends. They are, therefore, unworthy. They may as well pout all day. Or, even better, they should make everyone that live with them desperate to get out of the house.

I feel bad. Not many are tweeting "I am alone. Let's do something". Not many are snapping instagram pictures of themselves with their eyes swollen from crying while they lay in their beds thinking about the great time EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY IS HAVING. Not many are being honest with their pain.

There have been the parental suggestions of "read a book", "clean your room", "clean the bathroom", "run to the grocery store", "mow the lawn", "get off social media" to no avail. They want to be with their friends doing something exciting. Not even sitting on a beach is enough. They have to be doing something.

My heart goes out to them. I lived in eternal bliss NOT knowing what my friends were up to. There is not eternal bliss for a teenager of 2014. Well, unless they are actually doing something worthy enough to post on all social media sites.